Ad Bye

“…Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.” – Ted McConnell, General Manager-Interactive Marketing and Innovation at Procter & Gamble Co.

Color me surprised that conventional wisdom suggested anything differently.

The services we’re currently using to talk to each other are one small moment from Bell’s experiments with the liquid transmitter.

Its as if when Bell declared, “Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you”, Watson was initially preceded by someone wearing fake mustache and promoting Doc Johnson’s Olde Tyme Elixir.

Just a wacky idea to start with.

4 thoughts on “Ad Bye

  1. Ed Kohler

    People seem to be willing to accept that things of value generally come at a cost. This could be in the form of a payment, time, distraction, etc.

    In the case of P&G, I think their failure in Facebook has more to do with the relevancy of their messages. For example, I’ve run ads for JucyLucyRestaurants.com to beer loving men in Minneapolis with relatively high click through rates to and time on sites at JLR. In that case, they’re relevant through demographic targeting. I think this has worked because the ads may be more interesting than some of the mundane status updates they appear alongside. It’s a graceful exit.

    As far as the Bell/Watson call goes, I think many people would be willing to listen to an ad before connecting in exchange for discounted or free “in terms of cash payment” phone service.

  2. Garrick Van Buren Post author

    Ed, excellent comment. I think you and I agree that a well targeted ad is indistinguisable from information. You’ve also clearly identified the difference in our perspectives. I don’t believe the general public is willing to exchange ads for time or money for phone service. They’ll just move to a different service. (one of us is more cynical than the other, I’m not sure who). Also, P&G is culturally set up to blast general purpose messages to a mass audience. For them to declare “niche is dead” is essentially a declaration of surrender.

  3. Ed Kohler

    I imagine if ad supposed phone services worked, we’d have one by now. It exists on the 411 side, but not for phones as far as I can tell. At say, $50 CPM with a pre-roll call, it would take at least a year to make $50 off my phone use.

    P&G’s challenge is how to become more niche. Niche is nichier. If they had products for specific athletic groups (Tide for Runners) and advertised them to people who said they liked running on Facebook, their ads would get attention.

  4. Garrick Van Buren Post author

    Ed, I don’t think P&G can – or even should – go niche. It would have to dramatically change its DNA. It would be easier for them to drop advertising all together. ;)

    Also, from my perspective, telephone conversations are marketing (if not ads) themselves.

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